Why can't we ride in the bus lanes?

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Ahlir
Participant
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Right you are. The right lane however usually has buses in it and cars will mostly avoid it, even if there’s no bus in sight. Checked on Streetview: no markings. But there’s a cyclist in the lane, pretty much all the way through…


WillB
Participant
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I think the problem is that it’s probably fine to have a few cyclists use the bus lanes occasionally, but if we make it official and get real bike traffic in the lanes then it has the potential to cause delays in the bus system.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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How does this work anywhere else? Why are we so special? It’s as if anything ever thought about here — I’m speaking of Pittsburgh in general, not the message board — has never been tried anywhere else, nobody else in the world has ever considered the notion.

How many cities in the world have dedicated bus lanes? How many of them have de facto if not sanctioned sharing of cyclists with those buses? I’m guessing in the dozens, at least, possibly several dozen. Right now I’m at lunch and/or too lazy/busy/trying-to-do-actual-work to do much research.

That aside, I will revert to my earlier question about does-it-scale. Next question, how well will any of this work with a coating of snow? I’m not talking inches, which would gum anything up, but just enough new or accumulated snow that would make passing of anything by anything difficult to impossible.


Mick
Participant
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I can understand not being comfortable with illegal sharing of teh lanes.

OTOH, I haven’t been kicked off of the Fifth Ave buse lane in this century. in the 90’s, I would regularly have both PAT and Pittsburgh police threaten to ticket me and do that dumbcop intimidation thing.


sixfist
Member
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What are the disadvantages of one-way streets for cyclists?

In general they encourage speeding, more vehicle-miles traveled, drivers may pay less attention on them, etc. Maybe you can find more info online.

Another gripe i have is how inconvenient they are, when I bike, and when i have driven. I often find myself needing to bike down one way streets the wrong way, or needed to go blocks out of my way to get somewhere.
A good example of inconvenience would be traveling in or through the Strip. Because of the one ways I am constantly traveling via the alleyway, Spring Way, in order to get to my destination or to try to make it through. Spring Way is an infinite stop sign and poorly maintained, not to mention perilous in the winter. It is not designed as a through way, nor should it be. But Liberty can be intimidating and all stops on Penn are inaccessible going outbound.
There are many more examples of the inconvenience, and also how it can affect safety. Getting to where you want to go shouldn’t be a maze, regardless of your vehicle type.


Steven
Participant
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How many cities in the world have dedicated bus lanes? How many of them have de facto if not sanctioned sharing of cyclists with those buses?

It’s not just having the lanes, though, it’s also how wide they are, and whether they’re contraflow. I’d be a lot more interested in how they approach this issue in cities with narrow downtown streets like ours, than in places where they started with 6-lane roads and found a way for bikes and buses to share a 22-foot-wide bus lane.

In general [one-way streets] encourage speeding, more vehicle-miles traveled, drivers may pay less attention on them, etc.

I’m sure there are cases where they encourage speeding, but I don’t notice this on inbound Fifth, for instance, since the lights are timed to prevent that, or on streets like Wood or Smithfield. My guess is if Forbes and Fifth were both made two-way (and had to give up timed lights in at least one direction), traffic would get faster.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the “encourages speeding” problem happens mostly on those one-way streets where some traffic engineer decided they should be a way to move a lot of traffic quickly through an area, and all the decisions about the road reflected that. Start with ideas about complete streets and traffic calming, and you get a different kind of one-way street.

I agree that the need to sometimes circle around a block to reach a destination can be confusing if you’re not using GPS and don’t know the area. Googling for info about bikes and one-way streets, I found conflicting info on safety issues, but tons of pages about why cyclists should usually be allowed to ride both ways on streets that are one-way for cars. If we can assume that more and more drivers who don’t know how to get someplace will use GPS, while cyclists will be able to ignore the one-way signs often enough, then perhaps the navigation issue gets less important.


Ahlir
Participant
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Even Las Vegas has shared bus/bike lanes…

I would agree with @Steven that our narrow streets might pose more of a challenge. But with a bit of planning and engineering it should be doable. I mean, the Penn Ave lanes were supposed to be a disaster, but they aren’t. We’ll never know what’s possible until we try it (and, yes, occasionally make a mistake).


MaryShaw
Member
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@Ahlir says “Even Las Vegas has shared bus/bike lanes…”

Um, you go to Las Vegas to gamble, don’t you?


Ahlir
Participant
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@MaryShaw: No, I learned about statistics back in school.
But some conference organizers insist on locating there…


MaryShaw
Member
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More seriously, in quite a few German towns that I’ve visited, the narrow streets in the old sections of town pretty much require a lot of one-way streets. It is routine for these to allow contra-flow bicycle traffic. Underneath a one-way arrow you’ll see a smaller black-and-white sign with a bicycle icon and arrows pointed both directions, and underneath the red-and-white sign that means “do not enter” you’ll see a smaller black-and-white sign with a bicycle icon and “frei”.

At http://www.bikexprt.com/research/contraflow/gegengerichtet.htm you’ll find a review of the German decision to permit contraflow in 2000, plus some comparative statistics that support the claim that contraflow improves safety (and also reduces biking on sidewalks, though many of the sidewalks in older parts of town don’t lend themselves to cycling).


Italianblend
Participant
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is it ironic; many of you seethe at the sight of a car entering a bike lane, and here you are wanting to use a bus lane.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Apples and oranges. While it is true a valid comparison can be made between objecting to other-than-X vehicles in the X lane, that is not the point. Cyclists already are allowed in the “car lane” but are often unwelcome and feel unsafe. OTOH, being allowed to use the bus lanes puts already dedicated public space to a second sanctioned use.

The truly valid comparison would be between objecting to _both_ cars in the bike lane and cars in the bus lane. The presence of cars in the “car” lane is the very definition of traffic congestion. The reduction of that is what transit and cycling working together, not fighting each other, is what we are trying to get to.


Ahlir
Participant
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@Italianblend, over in the “dangerous drivers” thread you’ll find the following recent entry:

Around the bend I hear tires squeeling and a shitty Kia coming at me at about 50 MPH taking the curve in the bike lane.

So, um, why is it a problem that bikers might complain about cars in the bike lane? (Even making an allowance for that poster’s somewhat florid language.)


ShooFlyPie
Member
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Why does my language matter to you as I write a post on my phone after being upset dealing with a car almost hitting me in a bike lane?

I can’t do this pretentious forum anymore.


Benzo
Participant
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I mean, the Penn Ave lanes were supposed to be a disaster, but they aren’t. We’ll never know what’s possible until we try it (and, yes, occasionally make a mistake).

That’s why we’re not putting in concrete dividers. Sticks and paint. Cheap to install and cheap to remove. We can try and try and once we’re sure it works we the city put down more solid barriers if we like. If not, then ‘poof’, it could be removed without a terrible hassle.


fultonco
Member
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@ShooFlyPie

Continue giving your opinion and don’t let the clique stop you. They once had a thread on here about the same two dozen people who comment on here regularly, on every subject, and how they were the be all and end all of what matters in local cycling and some such BS.

Obviously, that is not true nor is it a sign of a healthy organization. It just makes some people with no life feel better about themselves, I suppose.

Regarding language, there has been rougher stuff on this forum in the past. Yours was nothing compared to some of the stuff I’ve seen.

Stay with it!


Ahlir
Participant
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We’ve all been invited to parties where we don’t know that many people and it all looks so intimidating. Everyone else knows each other, having great fun, laughing and just so totally seeming to belong together. And there you are, on the fringes, eyeing the snacks and trying to decide between the Cheese-Its and those baked potato chip things (all the good stuff being gone by then).
Personally I’ve never figured out it; but that’s probably me. Though I have noticed that sidling up to an ongoing conversation, getting into its flow then asking a question or otherwise contributing seems to work. Not always, of course. But you just give it a shot.

@ShooFlyPie (& @fultonco): It’s a forum, people say all sorts of things, in all sorts of language. Did you sincerely think my post was a complaint about your language? It wasn’t. It was in response to @Italianblend’s somewhat obtuse remark; and it used your post as an instance of why it should always be ok to complain about cars in the bike lanes. The bus/bike lane discussion is about something different, in any case.

And google “define: florid”. Reasonably apposite, don’t you agree?


Mick
Participant
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What are the disadvantages of one-way streets for cyclists?

In Oakland, south of Forbes, north of the Blvd, there’s a bunch of 1-way streets that seem to be designed with the object of preventing cruising (I’m looking at you, Semple St).

This means they aren’t convenient for any users. By design. The “advantage” is it’s hard to pass a corner and come back to it, so it makes illicit sales difficult.


Benzo
Participant
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Yeah, south oakland street grid makes no damn sense for moving yourself around, more so for feeding towards primary arteries.


chrishent
Member
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This sounds fun:


Vannevar
Participant
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Years from now, that unknown cyclist will be recognized as the Progenitor of the Busway Movement. chapeau!


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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*sigh*

I rode the South Busway last weekend–on a bus, tyvm–and the idea of riding a bike on it was frankly terrifying. It’s even smaller than your average two-lane road, having been built for buses and nothing else; has nearly no shoulders and no sidewalks at all; and there are 40-thousand-pound vehicles–whose drivers aren’t exactly known for treating cyclists well, you may recall–doing 50+ mph in both directions.

I haven’t been on the West Busway in a while, but most of the East isn’t any better. Bikes on surface street bus lanes is one thing, but this….

serious question: have the people advocating putting bikes on the busways ever actually been on a busway?


chrishent
Member
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Yup, before I started using the bus regularly, I used to think that it might be possible. Now, especially after having been on the East Busway a few times during morning and evening rush hours, there’s no freaking way that I’d ride on it unless serious modifications (read: $) were done to accomodate cyclists. West Busway, with that long tunnel albeit with less traffic, is a no go, too. Frankly, I’d rather have PAT spend that money elsewhere.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Take bikes on the busways all you want … In racks on the fronts of the buses.

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